Shine A Light: Uncovering The World Of Rare Cancers

Shine A Light: Uncovering The World Of Rare Cancers
24 Feb 2024
7 min
Table Of Content
Shine A Light: Uncovering The World Of Rare Cancers

    Welcome you all to another episode of a cancer blog. By this time, everyone will be aware of the term cancer, the types that exist, and prevention techniques through our wide array of health library blogs regarding cancer. Today, we are here to shed light on another side of cancer that is least known from the outside world and not widely spoken. These rare cancers are over-shadowed by their most prevalent counterparts that often create talk of the town with their newly developed therapies. 


    What Is A Rare Cancer?


    The term rare cancer signifies the development or likelihood of occurrence of a certain tumor that is malignant in the abnormal areas of the body. It also denotes the global prevalence that is very much lesser than the commonly seen types of cancer. The exact term to define rare cancer varies with diverse  geography, but it is accepted that a cancer can be termed rare if it affects fewer than 6 to 7 people per 100000 people annually.  

    Types Of Rare Cancers


    Currently, more than 200 identified varieties of rare cancers prevail. They tend to originate from various body cells across different parts of the body . Some examples of rare types of cancer can include: 


    Navigating the Diagnostic Maze: Challenges in Rare Cancer Identification


    It can be challenging to diagnose a rare cancer. You can be referred to multiple specialists to determine and comprehend the type of cancer you have. Compared to those with more common malignancies, you might require further testing. 

    It takes longer to diagnose uncommon malignancies for a variety of reasons:


    • The symptoms could resemble those brought on by common ailments. For instance, back discomfort may indicate the presence of cancer, but a typical back issue may bring it on.
    • Certain uncommon malignancies have peculiar symptoms. This implies that physicians may be less familiar with them than with symptoms of more prevalent cancer kinds.
    • A person who is not supposed to acquire cancer obtains the disease. This is particularly true for teenagers and young adults. Since cancer in children is uncommon, when a young individual presents with symptoms, medical professionals may rule out cancer as the cause.
    • Additional testing may be necessary to determine the type of cancer which can take a longer period of time to diagnosis.. For analysis, samples might need to be transferred to a specialized laboratory. If the test is unavailable where you live, you might also need to go to another hospital for it.

    Rising to the Challenge: Modern Therapies for Rare Cancer Patients

     Patients with rare cancers have faith in spite of these obstacles. Researchers now have a better understanding of the molecular pathways causing uncommon tumors, thanks to developments in precision medicine and genomics. This information guided the creation of immunotherapies and targeted medicines that are specially suited to individual tumors, providing patients with previously limited treatment options and new relief avenues.

    Advancements in targeted therapies: 


    Gone are the days when the treatment of cancer is thought only to be surgical resection of organs. Let us welcome the new era where targeted treatment approaches are born. These newer classes of medicines identify the molecular causes that are responsible for tumor growth and disrupt their pathway. Some targeted therapies include HER-2 inhibitors, angiogenesis inhibitors, PARP inhibitors, CDK inhibitors, etc. 


    Immunotherapy revolution:


    The rise of immunotherapy in recent years has been a boon for patients fighting cancer. These novel approaches in cancer medicine help your immune system fight against the tumor cells effectively. Cancers work to throw off the immune system's delicate balance so that cancer cells are not recognized as unusual. Through immune system manipulation, immunotherapy helps the body fight cancer by reestablishing equilibrium. Some drugs employed in this class are checkpoint inhibitors, adaptive cell therapies, and cancer vaccines. 

    Precision medicine and genomic profiling: 


    Genetic profiling is the method used to understand a person's genetic makeup. It is used to understand why these rare cancers develop in certain people and help researchers develop precision medicine techniques to target and eliminate the tumor cells. Molecular profiling, bioinformatic techniques, and pharmacogenomics are the various techniques employed. This helps the clinicians to develop medicines for rare cancers particularly where the standard treatment guidelines may be lacking. 


    Research studies and the bitter truth: 


    The various clinical trials are essential for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of new treatment options that are being studied. But the bitter truth behind it is that progress has always been at a slower pace due to the non-availability of enough patients, since rare cancer is something that does not affect many. 

    However, innovations like basket trails and umbrella trails are being employed to overcome the barriers that lie behind them. They offer a ray of hope to the patients who are suffering from rare cancers. Clinical trials become more accessible, inclusive, and sensitive to the varied needs of people affected by rare cancers when patients are actively involved in the research process.


    Summing up the tale


    The treatment and research landscape for uncommon cancers is characterized by tenacity, inventiveness, and persistent hope. One thing is certain: the combined efforts of doctors, researchers, patients, and advocates will continue to shape the future of rare cancer care, bringing us closer to a world where no cancer is left untreated. 

    Written by
    Dr. Thamizhakaran K SMedical Content Writer
    AboutThamizhakaran K S is a Medical Content writer at Mr.Med. He completed Doctor of pharmacy from Annamalai University in 2023. He has worked as clinical pharmacist intern at Government Cuddalore medical college and hospital. During internship he gained expertise on clinical pharmacology, pharmacotherapeutics and clinical research. He also published an research project in International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Research. He has thorough knowledge on clinical trail methodologies and various pharmacovigilance guidelines. He possesses a strong interest in writing and uses his research skills to clearly communicate health information to the readers.
    Tags :Rare cancersRare tumor typesRare cancer treatmentdiagnosis of rare cancer